Hoes remains upbeat despite illness

He got off to a great start this year for the Frederick Keys. At the age of just 20, second baseman L.J. Hoes was living up to his prospect status and playing maybe even better than the Orioles had a right to expect in his first season in the Carolina League.

But Hoes has been out of the lineup since May 15 as he deals with a mysterious illness that doctors seem to have struggled to get a handle on.

There has been talk that it's not anything serious and Hoes should be back soon. But right now he doesn't have a date to return and his baseball activities are being limited.

Just what is the illness?

"We don't know right now," Hoes said by phone earlier today from Harry Grove Stadium. "They've been doing some tests, some blood tests. Just taking it day-by-day and I hope to get out there as soon as possible.

"Some of the symptoms have gone along with different things that could be wrong. Earlier my throat was hurting, plus I've had a real bad rash. My skin was peeling and I've been fatigued at times. Really don't know what is going on. It's very strange.

"I'm feeling a lot better now and hope to soon get the doctor's clearance to get back out there. I don't really know what the next step is right now."

In the season's first 35 games, Hoes was batting .290-1-20 and was leading the league with 24 walks. He has an on base average of .413 and OPS of .808.

Hoes is the O's third-round pick out of St. John's High School in Washington, D.C. in 2008.

"I'm not too worried about it. I know that I'll be fine and keep praying to God that I'll be fine. Keep trusting the doctors, that is their job to make sure I'm okay."

If you spend any time around L.J. you can quickly tell this is an intelligent, articulate young man who really loves the game. He was batting .327 in May and I wish him well and hope he gets back real soon.

He is sure keeping a positive, upbeat attitude right now.

"Last year some in my family got sick. Now I have to go through this. Just another obstacle in the road. No one said it would be easy, I just have to keep working hard and keep believing in myself and keep my faith in God that everything will work out."

Coming tomorrow in this space: Two interviews you are going to want to check out. I'll post quotes from Jake Arrieta on his tremendous pitching this year at Triple-A and also from Jim Callis of Baseball America on the Orioles and third pick in next week's draft.

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